- Tuesday, 10 July 2018
- Written by STEPHANIE CRIDER
The greater Fayetteville area is graced with several outstanding theaters, each offering something unique to local audiences. In the heat of a Carolina summer, here are some performances to look forward to once the weather cools and the curtains rise on a great variety of theatrical productions.
Cape Fear Regional Theatre
Cape Fear Regional Theatre has been entertaining Fayetteville since the early 1960s. CFRT resides in a three-story complex where is serves more than 42,000 patrons each year, including almost 7,000 students.
The 2018-19 season opens Sept. 20 with “Music City.” This modern country musical is set in Nashville and tells the story of three young songwriters who are broke but ambitious. With great music, grit and a lot of heart, this show has all the makings of a hit with notes both old and new. The show runs through Oct 7.
Oct. 25-Nov. 11, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” based on the 2004 novel of the same name, tells the backstory of Peter Pan, Captain Hook and the rest of the characters from the much-loved story. In true Peter Pan “never grow up” spirit, the adventure includes pirates, friendships and, of course, heroes.
Little Orphan Annie captured America’s heart in the 1920s in a comic strip in the New York Daily News. By 1930, she had her own radio show. She was in films in 1932 and 1938. She took Broadway by storm in 1977, and she’ll be onstage Jan. 24-Feb. 17, along with Daddy Warbucks, for a fun-filled adventure at CFRT.
Dalton Trumbo. He was a screenwriter and novelist. He was blacklisted and sent to prison for standing up to the House Un-American Activities committee in 1947 when the committee investigated communism’s influences in the film industry. A member of the Hollywood Ten, he continued to work using pen names and winning awards. This two-character play runs Feb. 28-March 17.
Bekah Brunstetter’s “The Cake” tells the story of a North Carolina native who comes home to get married. Her choice of partners causes quite the stir. A comic drama, “The Cake” will onstage April 4-21.
Rhythm and Blues close out the season with “Memphis,” a Broadway show with four Tony Award wins in 2010, including Best Musical. Take a journey to 1950s Memphis with its African-American clubs for a tale of unlikely fame and forbidden love.
For tickets and more information, visit www.cfrt.org.
The Gilbert Theater prides itself on being a semi-professional theater that produces creative, innovative plays and events to stir audiences and students of its conservatory to explore and contemplate the human condition through the talents of local and guest artists.
“Godspell” opens Gilbert’s season Sept. 21 and runs through Feb. 17. Based on the Gospels of Matthew, Luke and John, “Godspell” turns parables into a musical.
A perennial favorite, “It’s a Wonderful Life” runs Nov. 23-Dec.16. Based on the 1946 movie starring James Stewart, the play tells the story of George Bailey and his guardian angel, Clarence. Bailey is ready to give up and end it all until Clarence shows George that each life really does matter.
Feb. 1-17 features “Doubt,” which played on Broadway in 2005 and 2006, winning the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. Set in the fictional St. Nicholas Church School in the Bronx in 1964, Sister Aloysius suspects Father Flynn of being inappropriate with an altar boy. She pulls out all the stops to make her case, wreaking havoc along the way.
C.S. Lewis’ classic “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe” opens April 5 and runs through April 21. In the land of Narnia, talking animals and mythical creatures are the norm as Lucy, Edmund, Peter and Susan Pevensie take on the White Witch.
“The Laramie Project” closes the season, running May 30-June 9. In 1998, gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. The play retells the story based on hundreds of interviews with citizens of the town.
Visit www.gilberttheater.com or call 910-678-7186 to learn more.
Sweet Tea Shakespeare
Founded in 2012, Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s mission is to “celebrate the wonder of Shakespeare’s inventions of language, story and stagecraft by providing simple, elemental, magical theatre experiences of his and other remarkable works in an accessible atmosphere of beauty and community.”
Aug. 21-Sept. 2, “The Comedy of Errors” plays at the 1897 Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex and continues Sept. 5-8 at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. One of Shakespeare’s early plays, mistaken identity and a bit of slapstick combined with wordplay and puns make this a must-see.
Modifying plays to accommodate improvisation and audience participation, the LIT series will perform at various locations throughout October and November, including at Paddy’s Irish Public House Oct. 4, 11 and 18, and at Fainting Goat Brewing Company Oct. 25. Taking the tragedy of “Othello” and making it a bit lighter, the troupe said of the show: “The lighter signatures of the LIT series blend with the darker notes of the story for a bold and satisfying new flavor with an element of jealousy.”
Dec. 6-8 and 13-15, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church hosts “Behold: A Folk Christmas Cantata.” Celebrate the season with STS’ musical performance. With a full slate of Christmas songs to share, the cantata is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit.
STS presents “Sweeney Todd” Jan. 17-Feb. 2 at Fayetteville Pie Company. Sweeney Todd first appeared in a story called “The String of Pearls” in 1846. A relatively modern story for the troupe, don’t miss the misadventures of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street and his partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett.
“Maid Marian,” part of STS’ Honey series, plays April 25-28 at Fayetteville State University and May 2-5 and 9-12 at the Poe House. The Honey series showcases women through shows with strong female casts. What will that mean for this interpretation of the Robin Hood story?
The season ends with “Richard III” and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in repertory June 4-23 at the Poe House.
Learn more about STS at www.sweetteashakespeare.com or by calling 910-420-4383.
Givens Performing Arts Center
Located at UNC Pembroke, GPAC offers great variety this season, opening with an artist-inresidence performance of the farcical historical romance “The Three Musketeers” Sept. 20-21.
“Jessica & Niels Magic and Juggling Variety Act” presents mind-blowing magic and zany comedy bits on Sept. 28. Jessica Jane Petersen has appeared on Penn & Teller’s “Fool Us” TV show. Niels Duinker is a Guinness World record juggler, who currently holds the record for most cups (14) juggled at once.
The Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra: A Night of John Williams is set for Oct. 5. From “Harry Potter” to “JAWS,” “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” the music of John Williams is some of the most celebrated in movie history.
As a part of UNCP’s homecoming celebration, GPAC presents “Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles” on Oct. 19. With three decades of experience, this band has performed with such groups as REO Speedwagon and The Doobie Brothers.
“Comte Dracula: A New Musical Drama” was written by Lumberton native and award-winning composer of classical and Broadway music, Mark Andersen. “Comte Dracula” is an original musical making its world premiere on the stage of GPAC Oct. 27.
A perennial favorite, “UNCP Holiday Extravaganza” takes place Nov. 30. The faculty, staff and students of the UNCP music department present their 10th annual concert of holiday favorites. Proceeds go to music scholarships at UNCP.
“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” takes the stage Dec. 2. Come and get in the holiday spirit with Rudolph, the Abominable Snow Monster and all your favorite characters.
Enjoy the hit songs of Motown Jan. 12 with “Good for The Soul – Motown Revue.”
Feb. 20, “Cinderella: The Broadway Musical” brings Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Tony Awardwinning “Cinderella” musical to the Sandhills.
The Russian Ballet’s “Sleeping Beauty” returns to GPAC March 11. Formed in 1989, The Russian Ballet has achieved worldwide acclaim for its performances.
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, a Scottish bagpipe band, will rock GPAC March 20. Not to be confused with the world-famous American rock band, The Red Hot Chili Pipers hail from Scotland and have become well-known for their incredible covers of songs by Journey, AC/DC, and even songs like “Amazing Grace.”
Four members of the original “Jersey Boys” cast make up The Midtown Men. Join this dynamic group of Tony Award winners and nominees for a memorable night of classic 1960s hits April 15.
For more information about the shows or to become a season subscriber or renew past subscriptions, call the GPAC Box Office at 910-521-6361 or visit www.uncp.edu/gpac.
- Monday, 25 June 2018
- Written by LESLIE PYO
Whether due to personal passion or well-meaning parents, most adults can remember participating in a summer camp skit or school play at some point in his or her childhood. As a tree, as a star, as part of the warbling chorus, performing as a young person is usually an indelible experience. Sweet Tea Shakespeare, a local theater company known for its whimsy, creativity and live music, recently introduced a new opportunity for performers ages 12-17: Green Tea.
“Green Tea is not merely a class or camp activity, but over time will be closely integrated in the company as a way of fostering new talent,” said Jeremy Fiebig, STS artistic director and president.
Green Tea, which kicked off this March, is headed by Jennifer Pommerenke, STS general manager. She’s the previous assistant program director for Camp Kahdalea in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and she’s worked for Carnival Cruise Lines’ youth department. She said Green Tea is a program in which young people learn to create their own acting process and then perform in a show to put what they’ve learned into practice.
“Since the company and ensemble’s structure is such a vital component to Sweet Tea Shakespeare, we wanted to create a mini version of that (with Green Tea),” she said.
STS’ structure is similar to a medieval craft guild. It’s composed of committed members who contribute in a variety of ways, giving each other feedback and learning from each other’s strengths and mistakes.
Pommerenke said building friendships is an important part of Green Tea, too. At the start of each monthly two-hour session, she said, everyone warms up with improvisation games.
“At this pivotal point in their lives, this helps them learn how to listen to each other,” she said. “They’re games with no lines, no direction, no text. They really have to listen to one another to build a story that makes sense.” Next, they read chunks of Shakespearean text with the goal of processing and understanding the words together. The session ends with an acting lesson.
“I take what the kids want to learn and where they are at in the process and build it off of that,” Pommerenke said. “I am catering it (to) who they are and what they enjoy. I can see ... what gives them life, joy and delight and say that’s what I want to do next class.”
Various STS company members and visiting artists also come in and teach classes.
Green Tea’s first production will be a shortened adaptation of “Twelfth Night,” Shakespeare’s romantic comedy about twins separated in a shipwreck. Pommerenke said the show will open some
time after Christmas.
“We are hoping a couple Masters can come in and take some small parts,” Pommerenke said, referring to high-level STS company members who often play leading roles in STS productions. “That lets Green Tea know they are part of the company.”
She said “Twelfth Night” will also feature a version of STS’ pre-show, a chance for actors to sing or dance in the half hour leading up to the start of the play.
Registration for Green Tea is rolling, and interested students can drop in for a free trial class prior to joining. Green Tea meets one Sunday per month at the Capitol Encore Academy, 126 Hay St. Ages 12-14 meet 1-3 p.m. Ages 15-17 meet 3:30-5:30 p.m. Students sign up for one year at a time.
For more information, email Pommerenke at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com/green-tea. To learn more about Sweet Tea Shakespeare and its 2018-19 season, visit www.sweetteashakespeare.com.
PHOTO CREDIT: Megan Dohm, Thistle and Sun Photography